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Comment: Hedge fund P.I.

Just as in Magnum, P.I., the American television show featuring Tom Selleck as a private investigator, a group of executives are planning to start a new hedge fund that will use intelligence networks to give it an information edge.

Chris Morgan Jones, former head of Kroll's European consultancy, has teamed up with Ashley Dale, former head of European sales for Crédit Lyonnais's Asian investment bank CLSA, and Alistair Candlish, a former BlueCrest portfolio manager, to create Morgan Dale Capital.

While the fictional Thomas Magnum used his sources to crack cases and solve crimes, the new firm plans to generate investment ideas for the Morgan Dale Network Intelligence Fund from an established network of on-the-ground consultants and intelligence-gatherers based in various emerging market countries.

The network has sources, include political lobbyists, an ex-banker, consultants, freelance journalists and a former intelligence officer, in Moscow, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, Dubai, Istanbul and São Paulo. They are paid a basic retainer and a proportion of performance fees, and are required to sign an ethics code.

Customary sources of data and insight such as brokers and analysts have significant shortcomings, the partners believe. "Particularly in emerging markets there's a built-in narrowness to traditional streams of information," says Morgan Jones. "The idea is to put together a network of people who are standing in streams of interesting information."

Dale says the fund's managers will collate the information provided by the intelligence network and select investment opportunities through a rigorous investment process. Magnum, P.I. became one of the highest-rated TV shows in the US and internationally, and made Selleck a household name. Will Morgan Dale do as well?

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